A plan to launch a new currency to replace the CFA franc used by several countries in West Africa may not happen for at least five years.
Ivory Coast President Alessane Ouattara, has said the coronavirus pandemic has derailed the project to introduce the eco currency this year.
Last December, the eight countries of West Africa’s monetary union decided to sever the financial colonial link with France by switching to a new currency, the eco, which would be pegged to the European Union’s euro.
But the ambitious plan has been torpedoed by the economic fallout of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Money Fund has forecasted sub-Saharan Africa’s economy will contract more than 3% this year.
Nations in the bloc, former French colonies, like Benin, Mali, Niger and Senegal have agreed to work towards reducing their budget deficits to below 3% of GDP, a measure of the value of their economies.
But according to the Ivorian president, that is unlikely to happen for three to five years.
Other countries which do not use the CFA franc, like Nigeria and Ghana, are also interested in adopting the new regional currency.
But Ghana does not want the eco pegged to the euro and Nigeria wants the former French colonies to break all financial ties with Paris.